Acadiana Business

Nike releases shoe reflecting Louisiana heritage

by Kari Walker

Local skate shop collaborates with sneaker giant to create the "Crawfish Dunks"

Photo via Nike

Crawfish Dunks designed by Rukus Board Shop

What do Nike, a local skateboard shop and crawfish all have in common? A hot new sneaker designed here in Louisiana.

Nike's SB division will release its latest design called the Crawfish Dunks created through a collaboration with Rukus Board Shop. Baton Rouge-based Rukus has served the skater and sneaker-collector community in Lafayette for more than 10 years and got the opportunity to present a shoe idea to Nike.

Owners Ronnie Saurage and Chip Smith, along with Daniel Roberts of the Lafayette location at 311 Jefferson St. and a few other employees, put their creative ideas together to develop a unique design they hoped would appeal to Nike. "We threw around a culmination of ideas with some of our Baton Rouge staff and gave the idea to our area Nike representative who passed it on to corporate - they then ran with the design," says Roberts, who manages the Lafayette Rukus location.

Nike is known for collaborating with designers to create shoes for the SB line. Short for skateboard, SBs are a classic model shoe for the company that often sees updates of contemporary designs sought after by shoe collectors known as "sneakerheads." Rukus is confident the Crawfish Dunks will be in high demand. "From what I can tell by reading sneaker blogs online, it's gonna be a sought-after shoe, and we are pretty excited to see what happens," says Roberts.

Of all things that could possibly represent Louisiana, the Rukus team zoned in on crawfish because this shoe design was all about an homage to South Louisiana heritage and the local customer.

"This shoe is dedicated to the loyal Rukus customers that have lead to the shop's success. Crawfish in Louisiana is all about sharing with friends, so this design represents us sharing with friends,"

The shoe features a silver streak on the toe to represent a crawfish pot, maroon-red accents like those of boiled crawfish, yellow quilting on the heel representing corn from the boiling pot, and newspaper-inspired side panels to reflect the surface crawfish are commonly enjoyed upon while eating. Each pair comes with unique packaging - the shoes are bagged in a crawfish sack and the box design resembles a crawfish boil.

The shoe will debut Saturday, Aug. 16, and sold at all three Rukus locations in Louisiana and nationwide through Nike SB dealers.